Dezeen Magazine

O-asis is a low-lying house for a musician

The Ranch Mine creates O-asis home in the Arizona desert

Architecture studio The Ranch Mine built a courtyard house for a musician in Arizona with white stucco walls and solar panels paired with a Tesla battery for power outages.

The project, called O-asis, was built on an under-utilised, 1.6-acre site along a Phoenix mountain preserve.

Aerial view of O-asis by The Ranch Mine
O-asis has a roof with solar panels

Designed for a pianist by local firm The Ranch Mine, the house is intended to serve as a "respite from city life". O-shaped in plan, the 4,090-square-foot (380-square-metre) residence is organised around a central courtyard.

Almost everything in the house can be controlled wirelessly, including the lights, speakers, blinds and locks.

The team installed a rooftop solar array and Tesla Powerwall batteries, which act as a backup energy source during power outages or, in the worst-case scenario, allow the residents to charge their Tesla car and leave.

White stucco walls of house in Arizona
White stucco and hardwood define the exterior

"Most high end or luxury homes spend their money on expensive things where value is highly subjective, and really just add cost," explained The Ranch Mine co-founder Cavin Costello.

"They [the clients] wanted to spend their money on being self-sufficient as the signs are pointing towards a situation where the weather, along with ageing infrastructure, are putting our most basic needs at risk, as recently seen somewhat closely in Texas," he told Dezeen.

A vegetable garden allows the occupants to grow their own food, and The Ranch Mine is looking at adding a Source Hydropanel system for the clients.

"It's a really cool technology that creates drinking water out of the air with solar power," added Costello.

Weathering steel rattlesnake fence in Arizona
The desert house is protected by a rattlesnake fence of weathering steel

Heavily insulated walls are wrapped in white stucco, while recessed niches are clad in ipe – an exotic hardwood that is known for its durability.

Part of the property is surrounded by a weathering steel rattlesnake fence for keeping out snakes. The house lies low to the ground, rising only 12.5 feet (3.8 metres).

"Its strong horizontal form was designed as a datum for highlighting the dramatic shapes of the desert landscape," the design team said.

Courtyard of O-asis by The Ranch Mine
An internal courtyard brings light and air into the home

Upon entering, one steps into an austere foyer. Just beyond, visible through a glass wall, is the open-air courtyard, which is adorned with a concrete bench and desert vegetation.

The courtyard brings indirect daylight and fresh air into the dwelling, with plants selected to create a different colour palette as the seasons change.

Walnut wood in kitchen and music room
Walnut slats provide better acoustics for the grand piano

To one side of the courtyard is the main public area, which is lined with glazed pocket doors that usher in cool breezes and provide a smooth connection between inside and out.

The long, slender room encompasses areas for lounging and dining, along with space for a grand piano. Lining one wall are walnut slats backed with acoustic felt to improve the sound quality for its musical occupant.

Windows of O-asis house in arizona
The yoga room looks out over the landscaped garden

Concealed within the slat wall is a pivot door, which leads into the master suite. The sleeping area was kept intentionally small.

"The master suite turns convention on its head, limiting the size of the bedroom to just enough room for the built-in bed, using most of the space for the spa-inspired bathroom and retail-inspired closet," the team said.

Master bedroom of O-asis by The Ranch Mine
A concealed door leads to the bedroom

The bathroom features a skylit vanity and a limestone-clad bathing area. The closet, rather than being enclosed, flows right off the bathroom. Warm-toned wood was used for shelving and cabinetry.

Other spaces within the home include a yoga room with cork flooring and an in-law suite with its own entrance.

Wood-lined walk-in wardobe
The walk-in wardrobe is lined with wood

Just beyond the main living space is a swimming pool. Similar to the courtyard, the backyard features a long, concrete bench – this one containing a fire pit. The outdoor area serves as a great spot to take in the starry night sky.

Local firm The Green Room oversaw the property's landscape design, which is filled with plants native to the Sonoran Desert.

Concrete bench and firepit overlooking a swimming pool
A concrete bench with a fire pit overlooks the pool

Founded in 2010, The Ranch Mine has completed a number of modern-style dwellings in the Phoenix area. Others include the Pleats house, whose cladding takes cues from the ribbed exterior of cacti, and a courtyard home that alludes to Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings of adobe buildings.

Photography is by Roehner + Ryan.

Project credits:

Architect: The Ranch Mine
Landscape architect: The Green Room Landscape Design
Builder: Boxwell Homes

More images and plans

O-asis plans
Floor plan
Plans for O-asis
Plans for O-asis
Plans for O-asis